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The biggest women in business stories of 2013

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    Tina Fey and Amy Poehler co-hosted the Golden Globes this past January and are on track to do it again in 2014.
    Tina Fey and Amy Poehler co-hosted the Golden Globes this past January and are on track to do it again in 2014.

    It's that time of year again — for whittling the past year down to its biggest, best or worst moments, people and events. That, along with the hilarious women of "Saturday Night Live" special that was on TV a few nights night ago, got me thinking: Let's take a look back at the biggest women in business stories of 2013.

    For starters, two former SNL cast members and big-time women in (show) business deserve a moment's recognition: Tina Fey and Amy Poehler kicked the year off by co-hosting the Golden Globes. Too often, women are broadly typecast as hopelessly unfunny. These two prove that is so very false. Further proof: They've been asked to come back and do it again in 2014. Check out their opening monologue from 2013 here.

    Also, in January, Lockheed Martin named Marillyn Hewson president and CEO. Martin is the first woman to hold that position with the company, the world's largest defense contractor, which has a significant presence in New Jersey. Her work there earned her a significant jump on Fortune's list of the 50 most powerful women in business, rising from No. 19 last year to No. 4 in 2013.

    Just two months later, Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg rocked the corporate world with her best-selling manifesto "Lean In: Women, Work and the Will to Lead." In the book, which has become a must-read among women at all stages of their careers, Sandberg attempts to figure out why women are still struggling to obtain leadership positions and offers ways for them to get there. But it wasn't just her words; the book has inspired a movement of sorts, with women starting so-called Lean In circles (small groups of female peers who get together to share and learn) across the country. On top of all that, she's still one of the top executives at a $135 billion company. Pretty impressive.

    August was another big month for women in business news. That was the month this blog was born (how did that shameless plug get in there?). It was also the month when Marissa Mayer, Yahoo's controversial CEO, participated in a headline-grabbing spread in Vogue. Mayer grabbed a different kind of attention earlier in the year, when she banned telecommuting among Yahoo's employees, but the Vogue spread sparked a conversation about whether women can be both sexy and smart, beautiful and powerful.

    Sadly that month, Muriel Siebert, the first woman to have a seat on the New York Stock Exchange, passed away. She also served as New York state's superintendent of banking, directed New York City's Job Development Authority and was the first woman to head one of the exchange's member firms. She was certainly one to look up to.

    In October, Janet Yellen was nominated to become the first female head of the Federal Reserve. Chief Executive magazine named Sara Mathew, the recently retired CEO of Dun & Bradstreet, the top wealth creator in the country for 2013. And Malala Yousafzai, the young Pakistani girl who was shot in the head by the Taliban in 2012, released her memoir. She might not technically be a woman in business, but she's a woman to admire in the very least.

    And finally, earlier this month, General Motors capped it all off by naming Mary Barra its next CEO. Her father spent 39 years with American automaker, and she has been quoted as saying she group up at GM. Now she will be the first female to hold the company's highest position.

    If I have missed any, let me know via email (maryj@njbiz.com) or in the comments. I'll gladly write an apologetic postscript, if only to highlight more women in business who deserve another moment in the sun.

    Can't wait to see what's to come in 2014. Happy new year!

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    Write to the Editorial Department at editorial@njbiz.com

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